Aarya watches too much TV. There, I said it. When I am tired ( which is often nowadays, I have 4 more weeks to go), I have to study (not much just for exams) or in general when I am just too lazy, I switch on the TV and let him watch. When my husband comes back from work all tired and doesn’t have the energy to give him much time, he lets him play on his mobile or watch videos of Ben 10, Thomas the Train and such. We both are guilty. But when we saw an attitude shift in Aarya – is when we stopped and noticed the bad effects it was having on our energetic child. He wanted us to entertain him in some way or the other ALL THE TIME. TV does that,
“I need to be entertained, play with me, do this for me and just keep playing with me”
” I will not play by myself”
” I cannot be bored”
” I will not use my imagination for pretend play”
” I do not want sensory bins”
“I want to sit and want to be entertained by some format of media”.
This was not the case earlier though. Aarya could play with his cars/trains and use his imagination in one way or the other. Play with the sensory bins for more than 30 minutes at a stretch… and he could entertain himself for sometime. But nowadays, “Bas ho gaya” (Enough, I am done) is the phrase that comes out of his mouth easily and much too fast for my liking.
This January, my husband and me decided that we are going to be intentional about limiting (not completely ending) his TV time. Videos on youtube were a strict no-no. He can watch movies with us though (Iron-man, Cars and all that). He can play educational games on my phone too, but there was a time-limit for everything. But one of the major things we have decided on, is to not intentionally entertain him all the time, we are letting him figure out on his own what he wants to do. We are letting him get bored and NOT helping him. There is more outdoor play too – which he loves.
How do I plan to do it?
Being intentional and planning a little ahead of time and sometimes a spur of the moment activity. Somethings that he has loved for a long time, and some new things. Many sensory activities and some quiet play. And lots of open-ended toys, for him to use his imagination around. –> These are my plans. I will set things up and let him go at it, the way he wants. I am not going to CRINGE at the messes, untidy house and such things – I am going to move out and do my own stuff while he explores. Here are somethings we did recently (Note – we did have screen time on some of the said days, but very very little and there are no pictures, mostly because I try to be invisible lol!) –
1) Dump a little of shaving cream on windows and let him go at it. While he is at it, peek in and ask him if he can write his letters (which he already knows). Later on add some wet sponge (or wet cloth) and let him “clean” it.
2) A tiny bit of shampoo in a some water – some cars and stuff that need LOTs of cleaning.
3) When he spends time on his own, I spend sometime with him doing things he wants too. This include – playing his favorite games – Memory Game, Buzz the Bear game etc.
4) Colored rice in a bin (things hidden inside this is an added bonus!) – he loves this. Giving him some utensils, spoons – leads him to *cook*. Adding cars and stuff- that’s another level of pretend play.
5) Doing chores with me. He helps me with loading the washing machine and adding soap powder, making dosas (yep! he LOVES making pancakes), putting food in the microwave to heat ( he never takes it out, he understands stuff is hot), cleaning spills ( sometimes he makes a bigger mess, but that’s ok – I am sometimes in a total-Zen state), making rotis (tortillas) – LOVES!
6) Playdough has not been a success here. I keep it available and sometimes ask him to play with it… trying out variety of pins seen on Pinterest, nothing has helped him play on his own. Still waiting for something to Click there.
7) Adding water to maida (plain flour)- really WHAT is the fun in this? But you can see him do it and mix it and do it again!
8) Puzzles – Eichhorn Cars Wooden Frame Puzzle has been a great investment. I bought a similar looking one and got 6 puzzles (Mater and Lightening McQueen included). Wooden train puzzle from Skillofun was a HUGE hit as well.
9) Lego duplo – Though initially he did not warm upto it, he now stacks it up to make his swords and guns. If we play with him, he keeps going at it.
10) Blocks – I have a set of blocks from Classic toys, Anindita toys, Zenga blocks and City Blocks as well. We have kept them out and he loves making things with his Dad with these. This is still not an independent play item.
He loves me doing craft work with him, loves painting and doodling with me as well – These things we do as often as I can.
I will keep updating you all about my failures and successes. I am glad I am working on my goals (this was my #1 goal) and tackling them gives me a sense of achievement. How do you limit screen-time at your place, have you written a post, I would LOVE it if you share.
Here are some posts that are my absolute favorites for truck-load of ideas –